The Squid's Ear Magazine


Zorn, John / Bill Laswell: The Cleansing (Tzadik)

A series of duo improvisation between long-time Downtown NY collaborators, alto saxophonist John Zorn and electric bassist Bill Laswell, recorded in the studio during pandemic lockdown and the first return for Zorn to the saxophone after 15 months, in a uniquely thoughtful set of recordings named for artists including Brion Gysin, W.S. Burroughs, Alejandro Jodorowsky, &c.
 

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Personnel:



John Zorn-alto saxophone

Bill Laswell-bass


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UPC: 702397403722

Label: Tzadik
Catalog ID: CD-TZA-4037
Squidco Product Code: 31376

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Zorn and Laswell have been friends and musical compatriots since they first met in 1978, and have been responsible for some of the most intense and memorable music in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Recorded in early 2021, near the end of the year's pandemic lockdown, it marks the first time Zorn had touched the saxophone in over fifteen months. Laswell had spent most of the year locked in his apartment. Something special was happening that day-and after the session Laswell felt rejuvenated-as if all the toxins and poisons had left his body. Soulful and essential, The Cleansing is an historic meeting-and the first recorded duo project by these two Downtown magicians."-Tzadik


Artist Biographies

"John Zorn (born September 2, 1953) is an American composer, arranger, producer, saxophonist, and multi-instrumentalist with hundreds of album credits as performer, composer, and producer across a variety of genres including jazz, rock, hardcore, classical, surf, metal, klezmer, soundtrack, ambient, and improvised music. He incorporates diverse styles in his compositions which he identifies as avant-garde or experimental. Zorn was described by Down Beat as "one of our most important composers".

Zorn established himself within the New York City downtown music movement in the mid-1970s performing with musicians across the sonic spectrum and developing experimental methods of composing new music. After releasing albums on several independent US and European labels, Zorn signed with Elektra Nonesuch and received wide acclaim with the release of The Big Gundown, an album reworking the compositions of Ennio Morricone. He attracted further attention worldwide with the release of Spillane in 1987, and Naked City in 1989. After spending almost a decade travelling between Japan and the US he made New York his permanent base and established his own record label, Tzadik, in the mid-1990s.

Tzadik enabled Zorn to maintain independence from the mainstream music industry and ensured the continued availability of his growing catalog of recordings, allowing him to prolifically record and release new material, issuing several new albums each year, as well as promoting the work of many other musicians. Zorn has led the hardcore bands Naked City and Painkiller, the klezmer/free jazz-influenced quartet Masada, composed over 600 pieces as part of the Masada Songbooks that have been performed by an array of groups, composed concert music for classical ensembles and orchestras, and produced music for opera, sound installations, film and documentary. Zorn has undertaken many tours of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, often performing at festivals with many other musicians and ensembles that perform his diverse output.

Zorn's compositions cross many genres and he has stated "All the various styles are organically connected to one another. I'm an additive person-the entire storehouse of my knowledge informs everything I do. People are so obsessed with the surface that they can't see the connections, but they are there." For Zorn "Composing is more than just imagining music-it's knowing how to communicate it to musicians. And you don't give an improviser music that's completely written out, or ask a classical musician to improvise. I'm interested in speaking to musicians in their own languages, on their own terms, and in bringing out the best in what they do. To challenge them and excite them." "

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Zorn)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Over the course of some three decades, visionary bassist-producer Bill Laswell has been one of the most prolific and restlessly creative forces in contemporary music. A sound conceptualist who has always been a step ahead of the curve, he has put his inimitable stamp on nearly 3,000 recording projects by such artists as Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono, Iggy Pop, Laurie Anderson, Brian Eno, Bootsy Collins, Nine Inch Nails, Motorhead, Peter Gabriel, Blur, The Ramones, George Clinton, Pharaoh Sanders, The Dalai Lama, Matisyahu, Angelique Kidjo, DJ Krush, RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ, Sting, The Last Poets, Afrika Bambaataa, Julian Schnabel, Whitney Houston, Manu Dibango, Fela Kuti and most notably Herbie Hancock, who collaborated with Laswell for the pivotal 1983 smash-hit single "Rock-It" which introduced scratching to the mainstream, inspired a generation of turntablists and gave the great jazz pianist instant street credibility among the burgeoning hip-hop cognoscenti.

Laswell's sense of creative daring as a producer was further demonstrated on several recordings that have kept him on the cutting edge, including Afrika Bambaataa's collaboration with John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols fame) on World Destruction and PiL's Album (which brought together an unlikely pairing of drumming greats Ginger Baker and Tony Williams, synth-pop pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto of Yellow Magic Orchestra fame and rising guitar star Steve Vai). His spoken word collaborations with William S. Burroughs and expatriate writer-composer Paul Bowles have gone against the grain of music industry trends while his radical remixes (or re-constructions) of landmark recordings by Miles Davis (Panthalassa), Carlos Santana (Divine Light), Bob Marley (Dreams of Freedom) and a vast scan of dub-related and atmospheric ambient projects have gone on to further defined Laswell's presence as a revolutionary ikonoklast.

Bill Laswell has helped in generating several innovative recording labels such as Celluloid, Subharmonic, Black Arc, and Innerhythmic. Along with Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records (Bob Marley and U2), he established the AXIOM label in 1989. M.O.D. Technologies, his most recent imprint is releasing projects by Method Of Defiance, Lee "Scratch" Perry, PRAXIS, Garrison Hawk with Sly & Robbie, Bernie Worrell, The Process (with Red Hot Chili Peppers' drummer Chad Smith and pianist Jon Baptiste) and progressive/futuristic music from Ethiopia (CDs/DVDs).

As a player, Laswell's bass lines resound with rare authority on groundbreaking projects by Tabla Beat Science (with Zakir Hussain and Ustad Sultan Khan), his avant-funk band Material, the apocalyptic assault of Last Exit (with Sonny Sharrock), his progressive dub effected Method of Defiance and the throbbingly intense power trios, Massacre (with Fred Frith and Charles Hayward), Painkiller (with John Zorn and Mick Harris), Praxis (with Buckethead and Brain), Blixt (with Raoul Bjorkenheim and Morgan Agren) and the latest (2014) Bladerunner (with John Zorna and Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo).

Laswell's artistic reach has consistently extended to the continent of Africa, creating ground-breaking, evolutionary snd controversial recording projects in Morocco, Senegal, Mali, Gambia and most recently, Ethiopia where he has established a base for developing new as well as legendary artists, just as he did in the South Bronx some 30 years ago.

A veteran of 300 plus journeys to Japan, where he has worked with everyone from The Gagaku Orchestra (Japan's ancient music, only played for emperors for 1500 years), to avant-jazz, rock, hip-hop and DJ culture. An eternal musical renegade, Bill Laswell has always played by his own rules."

-Bill Laswell Website (http://www.billlaswell.net/biography.html)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Brion Gysin 10:04

2. Aleister Crowley 6:52

3. Austin Osman Spare 6:47

4. William Burroughs 10:19

5. Alejandro Jodorowsky 8:56

6. The Cleansing 3:41

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Jazz
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Duo Recordings
Zorn. John
Tzadik

Search for other titles on the label:
Tzadik.


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